When it comes to business travel, all it takes is one forgotten power cord to sidetrack your entire trip. Packing smart for your trip can mean the difference between being prepared for your meetings or distracted by avoidable stress.
Whether you are a seasoned business traveler or preparing for your first professional excursion, determining what — and how — to pack for a business trip well ahead of time can help you stay focused on your performance.
Use this easy checklist to make figuring out what to pack for your business trip a breeze.
The Perfect Luggage
A lightweight carry-on rolling bag should be adequate for any business trip three days or less. The maximum size allowed for domestic travel on most U.S. airlines is 22” long x 14” wide x 9” tall (56 cm x 36 cm x 23 cm).
For a trip between four days and a week, a larger check-on bag should fit all your items. Check with your airline for their specific requirements, but generally, your carry-on must stay at or below 62 “linear inches” for most commercial airlines. To get the linear inches, add the length, width and height of the luggage you intend to check.
If you’re flying private for your business trip, you don’t have to worry so much about dimensions. Instead, choose luggage that is easy for ground travel, as bringing luggage on a private flight is a much easier process.
- Cell phone and charger
- Tablet and charger
- Laptop and charger
- Mobile power strip: Though many private planes have outlets, commercial flyers will be hard-pressed to find any
- Hotspot or jetpack: Wi-Fi at commercial airports isn’t known for its reliability; however, if you fly private, there will likely be free Wi-Fi on your flight (all Mountain Aviation flights have free Wi-Fi)
Pro travel tip: Use a cord case to keep your adapters, chargers, cords and cables accessible and organized.
- Work-appropriate outfits and shoes for each day of meetings (ideally in wrinkle-free cotton or lightweight wool)
- Two evening outfits for after-work dinner and drinks with colleagues, clients and prospects
- Workout clothes: running shoes, tops and bottoms—anything that can do double duty is ideal
- Swimsuit: if you plan on swimming in the hotel pool
Remember all liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage must be in 3.4 ounce or less containers, all of which must fit in one quart-sized clear bag. Visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website to learn more about the 3-1-1 rule for liquids.
This is another rule that doesn’t apply to business travelers who are flying private. In this case, just make sure containers with liquids are securely sealed and in a resealable plastic bag, so a spill doesn’t ruin your other items.
- Shaving products (disposable razor, shaving cream— disposable razors and their cartridges are permitted in your carry-on, but razor blades are only allowed in checked luggage for commercial flights; private flyers don’t have the same rules)
- Hair products (shampoo, as well as conditioner and styling products, if needed)
Necessary Travel Accessories
- Wallet with ID and some cash and one or two credit cards (Keep extra cash and cards in a suitcase, secure at your hotel. If you keep all cash and credit cards in the same place, a stolen wallet could be a disaster.)
- Travel documents, organized in a folder or portfolio:
- Boarding passes
- Confirmation emails and numbers
- Passport (if international)
- Travel insurance policy
- Medical cards and list of current prescriptions
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Tablet, e-reader or book (with apps like Netflix, you can download shows and movies to your device so you can watch without Wi-Fi — not needed for private flyers, but definitely handy for commercial flyers)
- Hand sanitizer
- Energizing snacks like nuts and protein bars (private flyers can coordinate their preferred quality drinks and snacks before the flight)
- Business cards (make sure they’re easily accessible)
- Two pens or pencils
- Bluetooth headset
- Breath mints
Pro travel tip: Bring an extra notepad and pen in case a colleague or client misplaced theirs. This can help make a great first impression!